actors

Fame and Its Proponents - "I wanna be famous, a star on the screen, but you can do something in between." - The Beatles

The other day I ran into an actor friend on the street. We chatted for a minute and quickly got into shop talk, including how we access breakdowns. Eventually he ended the conversation with "well, I'm sure we'll both be famous soon!" and he meant it so genuinely.

Without meaning to, my back arched. Every hair on my body stood out straight. I screeched up at the sky in horror and disgust as if that would expel the belief from the world that fame is not only a good thing, but the goal.

I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not by much. It's a concept that I've run into a lot lately, and with every fiber of my being, I hate it.

If it were just about the money, I would get it. Like, there's the art and the craft and all which is more important, I know, blah blah blah, but being very rich would be very nice. Have you seen rich people houses? They're HUGE. And GORGEOUS.

But fame itself? We glorify a state of being that leads a really high number of people to substance abuse problems. When you're famous, you can't go anywhere on your own in public, which is deeply infantalizing and limiting. I know that I want to be respected for my work in the industry, and I want to be known to a certain extent because that's how you get the really good roles, but being famous? That's the negative side effect of what I want, not the thing itself.

Also, it cheapens the industry as a whole and the people within it. Acting and storytelling has such capacity for touching and moving people across the world, and for the exploration of intellectual ideas. And when you lump all of that in with the simple desire for people to know your name, it seems like we're all shallow and thoughtless when we can really be so much more than that.

I smiled and thanked my friend. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I don't want to be a dick about it. But god, why would I ever want to be famous - which is in itself no more than a scream into the void - when I could do so many things in my life that are far more interesting than that?

Inspiration - "Why don't you put that on your Good Morning Missouri fucking wakeup broadcast?"

Last week, I mentioned that the past couple of months here in LA have been a bit of a slog. It's been difficult staying here for a variety of reasons, and I've even been thinking about moving back to New York - I'm not a "giving up" kind of a girl, but when most of my auditions here are self-tapes and I'm so much happier on the east coast, shouldn't I go back there for a while?

And then, the other day, I saw Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Wow. What a masterclass in acting. What incredible performances. What a brilliantly told story, with each part of it unfolding perfectly. And I was reminded of why I'm here. Because this is what I want to be doing. And Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri casts out of Los Angeles.

Going back to New York is still something I'm considering. When I get the representation I want out here, if I'm still getting primarily self-taped auditions, then I may as well be in the place where I'm happier.

But I've got some specific things to take of first out here. And I'm going to stay and do them.

So this is my fairly short post about the importance of inspiration. I should be able to work without it. But every so often I have to be reminded why I'm doing the work in the first place. And this movie did it.

You should go see it. It is incredible.

Truth and the Pursuit of It - "If you're engaged in a fight with something, then it's not with me. It's with your own blindness." - The Crown

Yesterday, I had an epiphany.

To set the stage for it, I need to catch you up with how much the past few weeks have been. The place where I live is surrounded by massive, blazing wildfires. I finally got a serving job in LA, so I'll be making more money, which is pretty necessary. But until my first set of tips come in, money is still pretty tight for me. I got a callback for a really interesting play here, and while my confidence comes from within, it's nice to have that external validation that I am indeed a good actor, even if I'm not quite what they needed. It's the holiday season, which is one of my favorite times of year, and I am surrounded by cool new friends and great old friends and we're all having holiday parties. But I can't go home at all this year, and New York around the holidays is one of my all time favorite things, not to mention that I miss my family and friends there.

And, on top of and beyond all of that, last week a friend of mine from college died.

I want to take a moment here to remember her. Her name is Miriam. She and I worked together in the theater a whole lot, particularly with the Shakespeare group. She was always sweet and kind, she had this incredible zest for life, and this crazy amazing voice. We had fallen out of touch after graduating, but I would still see her on Facebook - she was an award winning screenwriter, and I admired the work that she was doing, and hoped that we'd maybe even get to work together one day. And it's shocking and upsetting to know that any chance we might've had at reconnecting at all is just gone now. People die every day, but the realities of it when it affects you are always surprising.

So yesterday, I was heading to an audition, and already felt like I wasn't going to get the role. I may be a good actor, but the character is a teenager and I knew I was auditioning with some actual 16 year olds. It's always good to practice audition technique when you can, but it felt like a lot of time to put towards this practice, and I was miserable, and there was nothing I could tell myself to make it feel better. All I could do was use the emotion - the character is supposed to be insecure anyway, so it's ultimately good, right? (For those of you who aren't actors, that doesn't actually help you feel better.)

The epiphany hit me like a freight train or, more fittingly, a speeding car: I don't like LA.

And that's okay.

There are people here who I care about a great deal. There are specific neighborhoods where it is pleasant to spend time. And I know I'll stay because the work I want to do is here. But as a whole, I just don't like it.

I didn't realize how hard I had been trying to convince myself that I do until I admitted that I don't. But now it feels like this incredible weight has been lifted from me. I don't like LA. And that's okay. And just acknowledging that truth makes everything so much easier and better.

No wonder we're all in pursuit of such obvious truth as artists. It's wonderful.

The Seminar Post - "Thanks, SpongeBob. I'll alert the New York Times."

I knew that moving across the country would be hard at first. Like, I knew that. But there's a huge difference between intellectually understanding it and really feeling it. This past week in LA has been hard, man.

But instead of thinking about how difficult it is, I want to talk about one of the things that made me happiest before I left: Seminar!

You guys, I am so proud of this show. And it is entirely because of the incredible cast and crew.

Rachel Goodgal is an incredible director. She had this incredible eye for finding exactly what was missing from a scene, or knowing what to change about our set or blocking to change the feeling of the entire moment for the better. And best of all, she's so good at directing actors, probably because she is one herself! She never tells us how to feel

James Horgan played Leonard, and you never would've guessed that this was his first play. He was so cool and cunning and so different from how I originally pictured Leonard. In my initial concept for the show, Leonard would've been much snarkier, more emotional, and openly sexual. But he is proof positive that being open to the unexpected can only make a creative project better.

Conversely, there is no point at which I could ever have pictured anyone other than Justin Andrew Davis playing Douglas. He does pretentious and overly intellectual so well, but the thing that makes it so good isn't the wry humor that comes with it. It's that he's such a kind, thoughtful, and compassionate person just as a human, and that comes through in his performances as well giving them this beautiful layer of depth you otherwise would never see.

I was so excited to get to work with Wesley Cady as Izzy. She's one of my oldest friends, and she's getting her MFA from Wayne State, but this is the first time we've ever done a creative project together! She's so natural on stage - there are few actors who don't feel the need to do something, but she just is. She just sits there and listens and that makes her absolutely mesmerizing.

Last but not at all least is Christopher Erlendson as Martin. Firstly, the show wouldn't have happened without him. There were several times when I had issues finding a venue and other important things and I seriously considered dropping the project. He's the one who kept finding solutions to problems I thought were impossible. I couldn't be more grateful that he did. And he was an extraordinary Martin. There was one night where we spent hours in rehearsal just discussing character and relationships; I've never seen anyone so devoted to a project as he is to everything he chooses to join. (He has a couple of shows coming up, too! Check out the new production of A Kreutzer Sonata at The Secret Theatre in New York in August! And then Magic? later this year!)

I also want to give a shout out to The Artist Co-op, who so graciously let us use their space! It was the perfect location for this particular production - immersive and creative - and their whole set up both ingenious and genuinely useful for artists.

There are many things about producing a show that are really, deeply frustrating. But this experience was the best reminder that it can be so worth it.

"So, what's it gonna be? Do you want to be a writer... or not?" - Seminar

I'm in a play on Saturday! Yay!

It's Seminar, by Theresa Rebeck. I'll be playing Kate. You can still get tickets at seminartac.brownpapertickets.com

There are a few interesting things about this show. One is the discussion of how feminist it is. You all know by now that I'm pretty feminist, and I think this play agrees with the feminism that I believe in. But there's also a pretty easy argument that it is, in fact, anti-feminist. I'll go into that more in a different post. For now, though, no spoilers! You'll just have to come see the show and then discuss it with me afterwards.

More than that, though, is the level to which I've been able to discuss acting, performance, writing, and art with artists whom I respect and admire by working with them in this show. I know actors always talk about how much we learn in every show/film/whatever. But this is a play all about what it means to reveal yourself, to be vulnerable, and to be an artist. And here I've gotten to be surrounded by thoughtful, deliberate people and discuss what that means both within the context of the show and in our own lives.

And last night I had a wonderful experience with my Martin, Christopher Erlendson, where we spent hours going in depth about character, how Martin sees everyone else in the show, what it means to play emotions and how to do it. And I realized what a special place we're at in our careers, where we've found people who are really that good - the people we're going to "come up" with as we move through the ranks - and we have the time to sit down and really decide what acting means to us. Emotions. The human condition. Relationships and what it is to connect with another human being.

I've seen stories from people who "made it" and then later on in life looked back and their favorite part was their early careers where they didn't have the money they made later on, but they had everything in front of them, and I always used to look at those and be like "yeah, but career and financial security would be nice." But now I think I get it? I don't have the benefit of that length of experience yet, but I realized that I'm at that place in my career, and I'm so grateful to have such cool people with whom I get to go through it.

Anyway, come see Seminar this Saturday! I promise it'll be a cool show. 

Magic?, Measure for Measure, and the Tribeca Film Festival - "Farewell. Nope. The mayor is a drunkard as well, tell him I said so!" - Lucia, Measure for Measure

Going into the last half of April, there was a part of me that thought I'd be able to find time to keep up this blog while also being in Magic?, Measure for Measure, and working the Tribeca Film Festival. That was straight up a bald-faced lie to myself.

So now instead, let's review!

The Tribeca Film Festival is one of my absolute favorite things, but this year it just flew past me. I only got to see five films, and I just barely eked in the minimum number of shifts. But I always love being around the energy of the festival. There's always a feeling like new and exciting things are happening there - it's not about having the films that are going to win Academy Awards, but telling stories and using media that represent the future of storytelling.

Also, I got to experience VR for the first time there this year. IT'S SO COOL. I don't think it's a replacement for cinema as we know it. But what a weird and interesting experience to slip a headset on over your eyes, and look around underneath the ice in Antarctica.

Definitely did not attend opening night of the festival, though. That's because it was the same night as the performance of Magic? at Dixon Place!

Photo credit: Mo Rabbani

Photo credit: Mo Rabbani

What a ride of a show. Going from being cast to putting the show up in less than three weeks? It was so insanely intense. And it never could've worked without my talented, giving castmates, and more than that, our dedicated director, Chris Erlendson. I already wrote about how great they all on my last post. Even if that was a month ago. But it deserves repeating again. And again. And again.

The cool thing about this show was how much everyone was willing to give to make it work. When you do a show with a certain level of intensity - you especially see this in high school and collegiate theater, or touring companies - everyone in the cast and crew becomes family. You just spend too much time together not to. And it's interesting to me that we were able to attain that even though we did the show so quickly. Maybe it's because our lives revolved around each other so much for that time. When all day every day is devoted to the same group of people, maybe you're just bound to get that connection, even if that experience only happens for a relatively short length of time.

And then after the Tribeca Film Festival, I was in Measure for Measure! This one was just a ton of fun, and it reminded me so much why I enjoy playing comic characters.

Photo credit: Dylan Lopez

Photo credit: Dylan Lopez

I played Lucia (genderbend of the original character Lucio) and what a character arc that story has, man. She's funny, and she's part of the comic relief of the show, but she's not just a dumb delinquent meant to amuse the "common people" in the cheap seats back in Shakespeare's day. She has a point of view of what Deputy Angelo is doing in Vienna, and she is very deliberate at every turn in how she chooses to stick it to the man. She does it with a smile on her face and a clever insult on her tongue, but she does it well. It turns out that the man gets to stick it back to her in the end. (Shakespeare did have a thing about the innate goodness of nobility. I guess you have to when they're the ones paying your bills.) But she's an interesting, fun, crafty character, and it means the world to me that our brilliant dramaturg and director Jenna Schlags entrusted me with her. If it had been up to me, I would've thought of myself as more of an Isabella. But I so, so prefer having been Lucia. She's a character that's going to stick with me for a long time.

And what's coming up next? I don't know, man. I'm gonna try to stick one more show in there before the move to LA, I think. Because if Magic? taught me anything, it's that you can easily do a show in two weeks! Or, if not easily, you can at least do it. So I'm going to see what can be done. It's part of the spirit I love so much of New York.

Almost, Maine and Magic?

I cried on Monday. It was pretty great.

If you saw my post last week, then you know I produced and acted in Almost, Maine by John Cariani at the TBG Studio Theatre on the 10th! And it was exactly every actor/producer's dream. A big, responsive audience! A smooth show! And we raised $762 for the ACLU!!

But more than that, I'm so proud and grateful for the people I had doing the show with me, and I just want to take the time here to talk about how dedicated, thoughtful, and thorough they all were for this project. My director, Charlotte Grady, 100% made this show what it is. I may have handled the logistics, but she thought of so many things that go into putting on a show that I never considered, and without her, I don't even want to think about what it would've looked like. Speaking of the look, Ana-Sofia Meneses is a brilliant costume designer. At our very first meeting, she came in with several lookboards of ideas of what the characters and ensemble should look like, from the Norman Rockwell-ian to the idea of us all being seen through a frosted pane of glass like you would find in northern Maine, with pops of strawberry red for love. And, of course, the look wouldn't have been complete without Shannon Kavanaugh who has an eye not just for beautiful painting, but also making sure everything is cohesive and on-theme. Plus, when we got to the show date, she was happy to do whatever needed to be done backstage just to make sure the show went off without a hitch. And, of course, absolutely nothing on stage could've happened without the technical help of Claire Fishman. When we were in college together, I was part of a meeting where I saw several directors fighting over who got to have her as the stage manager for their show. And now I got to have her in mine! (And, I have to say, I'm exceptionally proud that we were able to come together as easily as we did and be an all-female production team.)

And then, of course, there's our brilliant cast. There were eighteen of us, so I don't have the space to talk about each one of them individually. But suffice it to say that they brought this play that I love so much to life, and they were totally willing to jump in, heart and soul, and give their time, energy, and thoughtfulness to this production, and I'm just so over the top proud and honored.

Valeria Avina
Arielle Beth
Adrian Burke
Jon Butts
Noah Chen
Dan DeCarlo
Therese Dizon
Raul Hernandez
Daniel Kemper
Corrie Legge
Chanelle McCoy
Uki Pavlovic
Rahmell Peebles
Marjay Smith
Chance Wall
Jenny Ward
Patryce Williams
Hannah Yi

And now, after this, it's on to the next show... which is literally this Wednesday.

It's called Magic? and it's a one-act told entirely in rhyme! The director and co-writer, Chris Erlendson, compared it to the way Shakespeare's works are written. And I promptly teased him for comparing himself to Shakespeare. The other co-writer is Yaakov Bressler, and Hannah Yi is gonna be acting with me in this, too!

But actually though, it's a clever, funny, sweet show. I'm psyched to be a part of it. I have my own theme music. It's that cool. And, for a variety of reasons, we had to pull it together in about two and a half weeks. But guys, I swear to god, we're doing it. Come out to Dixon Place this Wednesday at 7:30. It's gonna be incredible. (See how that's a link? It's a link to where you can buy tickets online!)

"But Emma, I'm a visual learner, how do I KNOW it's gonna be-"

VOILA! A promo video. Now you can be absolutely certain it's worth seeing.

Know Thyself - γνῶθι σεαυτόν

So self-image is weird. Not just self-image, but the way we behave that confirms or denies that is weird. And the way that other people confirm or deny that for us, and how we choose to see it.

I know so many people who say that they're actors, but they haven't gone on auditions in months, and they certainly don't create any work for themselves. But they will insist over and over again when they go to the movies or watch an episode of a TV show that they really like that they can't wait to be there themselves. And I compare them to friends of mine who don't consider themselves to be in the industry, but make theater just for fun, and it's incredible. And they're clearly doing the work, which becomes obvious in how their shows are happening now. (Check out Measure for Measure by one of these friends on May 5th and 6th! I'll be in it, too!)

Or there's also, you know, me. (It is my blog, after all.) I consider myself a fairly attractive person. I'm not Keira Knightley, but I'm pretty. And my friends seem to agree. I posted this photo that a friend took on a commercial shoot on Facebook and Instagram

and had friends commenting about how cool it was that I was there, and how good I looked. I appreciate that, and it was very sweet of them. But then I look at my romantic life, and I'm what a romcom would call "unlucky in love." Most of that is by choice, because I'd rather be working on my career, but, like, damn. And it's the kind of thing that makes me question whether, in this area, I'm like the people who say that they're actors but are so oblivious as to not realize they haven't worked in years.

I think self-awareness is important. I think it's good that I know that, at least in part, I made this post so I could fish for compliments and show off the above photo. I think it's okay to ask for those things. But also, sometimes, I think I may need to reevaluate my worldview and self-view, and that's a weird thing to do.

Cuffing Season - "Don't you need a man to raise a man?" "No, I don't think so." - 20th Century Women (2016)

I've been thinking about an ex of mine a lot recently. Not that I want them back, but it's cuffing season and I've still elected to remain single, and even if it's by choice, it's still a little bit lonely.

I know exactly what my priorities are. I know that I usually work evenings, and the nights I have off I want to be writing or watching movies, not going out with somebody just to go out with somebody. If I'm not feeling ~*that feeling*~ for a person, then it seems like a bit of a waste of time. In 20th Century Women, someone describes to Annette Bening's character his casual relationship, and she asks "if it's not serious, then why do it?"

Life is exciting and layered and interesting and stimulating and fun. Or at least it can be. It's supposed to be. I try every day to make it be. (Is that terrible grammar? Yes. Do I care because the literary device there still works? Hell no.)

And if I get more excited by hearing my favorite Christmas songs and making slutty brownies but with CANDY CANE JOE-JOE'S (you're welcome for that idea) than going on a particular date, then why should I?

To be clear, it's not that I'm uninterested in dating altogether. It's just that I only want to bother dating people I really want to date.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm rejecting people before I've given them a chance because I'm scared of commitment. Maybe it's me having imposter syndrome, and/or feeling this Groucho Marx quote: "I don't want to belong to any club that would have me a a member!"

But also... so what?

Plus, I never want to toy with anyone the way that ex toyed with me. I never want to have someone relate me to the Paulo Coelho quote "it's important to realize you can miss something, but not want it back."

Anyway, you all should check out this movie because it grapples with a lot of the same topics about what it means to be a good person and figuring out life and Annette Bening's performance is just ridiculous in how nuanced and casually emotional it is.

Queens and The Crown - "Then... long live Queen Elizabeth." - The Crown

When I was a kid and all of my friends were dressing up, I wasn't really interested in pretending to be a princess.

Asked why, I said that it's because I want to actually be a queen.

I was never especially popular in elementary school.

It'd probably be fair to say that I've decided to start my post about personal, internal strength because I just finished watching The Crown. Oh my god. I want to be Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II when I grow up. John Lithgow as Churchill is a revelation. And Matt Smith made me almost sympathize with Prince Phillip's actions towards the end of the season. Not writing any spoilers here or anything, but sympathizing with that is almost impossible for me to do.

But there's also a real reason I bring that up, which is that one of the things I was most impressed by was the growth of Queen Elizabeth's personal strength over the course of the season. As she grows into being Elizabeth Regina (as opposed to Elizabeth Windsor) and learns when she can and cannot say no and put her foot down. What she can expect from the people around her, and when they have disappointed that. How the people around her aren't just doing a favor to a pretty but outdated institution, how she's a real person and leader who embodies something more eternal. In short, how she becomes a queen. Because it's exactly what I want to do.

Don't worry, I don't have any delusions about becoming literal royalty. But it's about the way she holds herself and the way she sees the world around her. That's what I strive for.

I mentioned going through all of the stuff in my childhood bedroom in my last post. And it was an incredibly intense experience. Partially because there was so much stuff, but also because it was the first time I was forced to really confront the question "what do I want?" I've always thought of myself as someone who is fairly flexible and willing to go along with the things that other people want because it generally leads to new experiences for me. That's still true. But I had to go through things and actively decide whether or not I wanted them. And then I had to decide if I really wanted them, or if I thought someone else wanted me to keep them. Or if it was representative of someone, but I didn't care that much about the thing itself, like old birthday cards. And it made me start considering those questions in every aspect of my life.

Over the past month, I've started standing up for myself and my beliefs more. Because I've decided that I don't want to keep taking bullshit. I've regained the discipline I've lost over the course of moving and traveling and everything. Because at the end of the day, I'm a full person, too. I'm here to help my friends, but they are also here to help me. If I don't ask people to do things for me, then I'll never advance. And it's always okay to at least ask. Because I am worthy of assistance and being served, not just serving others.

It's weird to realize that I didn't entirely believe that before. And I still struggle with it, too. But while I may not be The Queen, I am still a queen in my own life and my own right. And I ought to treat myself like one.

Making it Happen!! - "This is legal! It's okay! This is totally legal!!" - Me, as I had to change my shirt in the middle of Sheep Meadow in Central Park

I've acted in films before. I've written films before. But I had never executive produced a film before this past weekend. Holy shit, you guys, I have such insane respect for producers and executive producers right now.

First off, huge ups to my cast and crew. Do you know what it's like to have friends come out on an uncomfortable, rainy weekend and work long days to create a short film that you wrote just to let some stuff out? Because I do. And they're all amazing. Ryan Fitzmartin, Thaddeus Bouska, Haley Bierman, Marcus Jones, Alex Spear, Nico Ferranti, Sara Bowie, Christopher Erlendson, Evan Dunbar, and Simon Diamond Cramer on the crew side, and my castmates Raja Burrows and Shane Tully. There is no film without any of them. Without them, there's just some chick (me) with a script (the second or third draft, not the good, final one) and a smartphone (my cheap one) saying "the shoddy production value will make it look artsy!" (It wouldn't.)

I don't want to say too much right now about what the film will look like since we're only just starting in on post-production. And I'm still low-key in shock that it actually happened. It's like I'm a real filmmaker or something!

But I wanted to let you all know that it's happening. The working title is The Slightly Awkward First Date of John and Joanna. (The title, too, is a work in progress.)

You guys, it was rainy on the second day but not the first which is problematic with continuity and we had problems with our sound equipment throughout and I was never sure that I'd be able to make all of the logistics like scheduling crew and getting craft services happen and I definitely nearly cried from stress the night before each day of shooting (and I never cry over anything in real life) and there is absolutely nothing I would rather have been doing this past weekend.

This post is becoming awfully #blessed and #grateful and I hate those kinds of social media posts, so I'm going to leave it here. I just couldn't let this week go by without mentioning it. I am the queen of making things happen, but if I am the queen then my friends here are the gods who gave me the divine right to do it.

(Does that make sense as a metaphor? I think that makes sense as a metaphor. I'm pretty sure that's the appropriate, high level of complimentary I want to be to them. That sounds like it makes sense for my metaphor, anyway.)

Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Why We Even Care

Yeah, I was gonna do a Golden Globes wrap up post today, but I just can't bring myself to do it right now. I was already upset over David Bowie, but now Alan Rickman passed, and I barely want to do anything.

And I feel ridiculous. It's not like I knew either of them. There's no reason for me to be this sad, right?

Well, obviously, that's totally wrong. This would be a pretty terrible post otherwise.

There are several theories out there about why celebrity deaths mean so much to us. For starters, there's this beauty of a Tweet:

And I love that because it's true. We both know that you felt it as soon as you read it.

But... prolonged grief? Tributes flowing in from all directions, from all kinds of people who surely have something better to do with their time then write about dead people? (Why yes, this is me putting myself in the same category as the great artists who have done tributes for Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and all celebrities before.)

Tuns out, according to science, as we see celebrities in movies and TV, and listen to their music, watch their interviews and read what they have to say, we really do grow up with them, and there's a part of us that sees them as a member of our family.¹ So when they pass on, it really does feel like a member of our family is gone. It becomes even worse when they are a specific role model for us, or someone whose career path we want to follow.

Celebrity deaths also scare us, because of how much they remind us of our own mortality.² That sentence is taken almost word for word from one of my sources, listed in the footnotes below. (Yeah, I researched this and have sources and footnotes. What up.) But it weirds us out. After all, these people had the talent, the money, AND the fame (and thus, the best medical treatment) and they still died. As Professor Snape would've said, "clearly, fame isn't everything." And if they can die, then we probably will, too. That's a problem as we really don't want to die.

Our grief over celebrity deaths is also deeply compounded by the global town square that is the internet. By sharing our sadness, we find other people who feel the same way, which is helpful for our healing process. But it also means that we're constantly reminded of the fact, which also draws it out and makes our grief even deeper.³ I'm not the kind of girl who is gonna say that the internet is a bad thing, especially when I'm writing this on the internet and definitely deepening the problem. And if you're not already sad, it's not going to create the emotion for you. But it sure will magnify it. Just like the internet does with everything else.

Sometimes grieving a celebrity death is a channel for grieving someone else in your life who has recently died, like a family member. Sometimes you just had an incredible personal experience with the celebrity's work, and you can't/won't separate the artist from the art.

I can't really say I have any absolute answers. I don't know for absolutely certain why we do or feel any of this. There are tons of plausible possibilities, but at the end of the day... we're all just sad, and admiring.

But, I guess, at the very least we are all reminded of what extraordinary lives these people have led, and how we could all stand for our own lives to be a little bit more like theirs.

Oh, and also...

"By Grabthar's Hammer, by the Suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged!"

(Click the link. It goes to the donations page for the Cancer Research Institute.)

¹ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/20/grieving-celebrities_n_5688129.html
² Ibid.
³ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/07/why-do-we-mourn-celebriti_n_999750.html
⁴ http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/why-some-grieve-dead-celebrities.html#
⁵ http://www.vox.com/2016/1/12/10755600/celebrity-death-grief

Drink-y Oscars Nominations! (You know, the Golden Globes.)

UPDATE: It is about 6pm EST on Golden Globes night, and I want to revise some of my predictions based on the campaigning season so far. Edits are incorporated through the rest of the post!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

By which I mean it's awards season!! This is when the best films of the year come out! And there are swanky awards nominations and everything everywhere! Including the noms for the Golden Globes!

So I'm freaking out over those and making my pics way too early in the season. These will probably change. But also, screw it, I want to do them anyway.

Ordinarily I pick only a few categories for which I really make predictions. But I don't think there's a single category of the Golden Globes that means less to me than any other. So if my analysis is short... I'm trying to do picks for twenty five categories in a single blog post. Give a girl a break!

As always, the category title is in bold, my pick is in italics, and everything else will probably be marked off with some kind of *asterisk.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Room
*Spotlight

1/10/16: Whoops, just kidding! I definitely think it's Spotlight now.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
*Cate Blanchett - Carol
*Brie Larson - Room
*Rooney Mara - Carol
*Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn
*Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

God, what an insanely strong category this year. I couldn't possibly pick just one. I'm not even rooting for any one of them over the others from pure, personal, emotional preference. They are all extraordinary, and they all deserve it.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl
Will Smith - Concussion

Yes, I know I picked two people. But, between the two of them, it was impossible to decide. The performances in both Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl were so extraordinary I couldn't so much as have one pick and then one as my second choice. Which is probably cheating for my count after the awards themselves happen, but I don't care.
I can tell you who isn't going to win. I'm sure he's fantastic, but Leonardo DiCaprio isn't going to win, and he is going to flip his shit.

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
*The Big Short
Joy
*The Martian
Spy
Trainwreck

1/10/16: I'm not saying Trainwreck isn't great, but I definitely am saying The Big Short is gonna win.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Melissa McCarthy - Spy
Amy Schumer - Trainwreck
Maggie Smith - The Lady in the Van
*Lily Tomlin - Grandma

I think Grandma was too small an indie film to have the funds to campaign and win awards season categories. I just wanted to point out Lily Tomlin in this movie because she was wonderful.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale - The Big Short
Steve Carell - The Big Short
Matt Damon - The Martian
Al Pacino - Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo - Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Motion Picture - Animated
Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

If Inside Out doesn't win, it'll be an upset on the level of The Lego Movie not winning at the Oscars.

Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language
The Brand New Testament
The Club
The Fencer
Mustang
Son of Saul

Number of films I've seen in this category: 0. Amount to which I am certain of my choice anyway: 100%.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Jane Fonda - Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren - Trumbo
*Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

1/10/16: Ohhh man. I might be reversing Alicia Vikander and Kate Winslet? Because I just haven't seen Steve Jobs campaign for much beyond screenplay and Best Actor, and Alicia Vikander has been everywhere! So I think this is going to Alicia Vikander after all, and it'll really be more of a combo win for both this and The Danish Girl.

I don't think Alicia Vikander is going to necessarily win for Ex Machina, especially not over Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs. I just wanted to draw attention to her because I really want her to get all of the things.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Paul Dano - Love & Mercy
*Idris Elba - Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon - 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone - Creed

Best Director - Motion Picture
Todd Haynes - Carol
Alejandro G. Inarritu - The Revenant
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott - The Martian

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue - Room
*Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer - Spotlight
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay - The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin - Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino - The Hateful Eight

Steve Jobs may have bombed at the box office, but Aaron Sorkin is amazing and I don't think I could be capable of not picking him for any screenplay category ever.

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Carter Burwell - Carol
Alexandre Desplat - The Danish Girl
Ennio Morricone - The Hateful Eight
*Daniel Pemberton - Steve Jobs
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto - The Revenant

...I'm literally listening to the score from The Danish Girl now, so it's very possible that I'm highly biased.

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"Love Me Like You Do" - Fifty Shades of Grey
"One Kind of Love" - Love & Mercy
"See You Again" - Fast and Furious 7
"Simple Song #3" - Youth
"Writing's on the Wall" - Spectre

Best Television Series - Drama
Empire
Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot
Narcos
Outlander

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
Caitriona Balfe - Outlander
Viola Davis - How to Get Away with Murder
Eva Green - Penny Dreadful
Taraji P. Henson - Empire
Robin Wright - House of Cards

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Rami Malek - Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura - Narcos
Bob Odenkirk - Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber - Ray Donovan

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Casual
Mozart in the Jungle
Orange is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Veep

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis - Scream Queens
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
*Gina Rodriguez - Jane the Virgin
Lily Tomlin - Grace and Frankie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Aziz Ansari - Master of None
Gael Garcia Bernal - Mozart in the Jungle
Rob Lowe - The Grinder
Patrick Stewart - Blunt Talk
Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
American Crime
American Horror Story: Hotel
*Fargo
Flesh & Bone
Wolf Hall

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Kirsten Dunst - Fargo
Lady Gaga - American Horror Story: Hotel
Sarah Hay - Flesh & Bone
Felicity Huffman - American Crime
Queen Latifah - Bessie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Idris Elba - Luther
Oscar Isaac - Show Me a Hero
David Oyelowo - Nightengale
Mark Rylance - Wolf Hall
*Patrick Wilson - Fargo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt - Downton Abbey
Regina King - American Crime
Judith Light - Transparent
Maura Tierney - The Affair

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Cumming - The Good Wife
Damien Lewis - Wolf Hall
Ben Mendelsohn - Bloodline
Tobias Menzies - Outlander
Christian Slater - Mr. Robot

Full disclosure: I know very little about this year's limited series television shows. I'm mostly basing this off of what I've seen online and what the Emmys did!

This is a really weird year for the awards because, while there are plenty of excellent films and TV shows out there, there isn't any one absolute standout! Or even a few! Which makes this so much harder.

And, you know, of all of the problems out there in the world, having to think a bit more about who my picks are for the Golden Globes is definitely up there. Probably.

The moral of the story: Yay awards season!!

Love in Relationships, a Surprisingly Not Obvious Thing - "I believe that I am a woman." "And so do I." - The Danish Girl

On Saturday I saw The Danish Girl followed by a Q&A with Tom Hooper led by the editor-in-chief of Backstage. Afterwards I ended up chatting with one of the producers for a while about how the film has been seen in the trans community. It was all pretty wonderful, so thanks for tweeting about it, Backstage!

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Now, I could go on for ages about how the film itself is stunning and how the Q&A and discussion was insightful and interesting, and I would be right about all of it. I don't care that those are all subjective statements and matters of opinion. I would be right.

But that's not what I want to do here today. I want to focus on one very specific thing. Or, rather, person.

To me, Eddie Redmayne is pretty much a perfect actor, and I'll tell you why.

(#sorrynotsorry for putting what is essentially a clickbait title in the middle of my blog post.)

Tom Hooper said during the Q&A that he enjoys working with Redmayne because he's so emotionally open while performing. He said that, especially among British actors, you can oftentimes see not just their emotions, but their internal dialogue as part of them fights showing their emotions. And that can make for interesting acting in and of itself, but Redmayne is very in touch with who he is and what he's feeling, and he just... lets everything else go, and just shows what he's feeling right then and right there in the moment. And that's all true and wonderful.

But I think there is something else that makes him so good. He's just extraordinary at finding the love.

The material on which he chooses to work certainly helps with that. The Danish Girl, and last year's The Theory of Everything, are both filled with love. Like, you would have to find the love to do those well.

But on the way home from seeing The Danish Girl, I had the epiphany that everything is about the love. Every great story is a love story. It's not necessarily romantic love, it can also be platonic love, or passion/drive for or towards a specific thing. But it's all always about the love. And he knows how to find it.

The drier, more accurate and academic way of phrasing it is probably closer to "he clearly defines his relationships with everyone and everything around him in each of his roles." And, like, yeah. That's true. But I think, more than that, he also finds the love in each of those relationships somewhere.

Before I start repeating myself too much, the thesis I'm going for is that Eddie Redmayne is such an extraordinary actor because he not only defines his relationships in each role that he plays, but he goes beyond that to find the love in each of those relationships, which is what makes each of them effective, gorgeous, and human. And he's so good at it that he's made it exactly the kind of work I want to be doing.

Besides, it's also a beautiful way to take in the world.

...I may have spent this entire post fangirling over how good an actor Eddie Redmayne is, but I couldn't write a post about The Danish Girl without acknowledging Alicia Vikander and how extraordinary she is in this film as well. Not only is she also wonderful at finding the love, but she's also heart breaking, intelligent, and compelling. During the Q&A, Hooper said that Vikander is an actress who can make pure goodness interesting, which is a very rare trait in an art form that is attracted to conflict and discord. And her Gerda is so feminist while still being human and feeling pain. She's such a standout, and you should be on the lookout for everything that she does. Just sayin'.

Socrates Is Full Of It, But I'm Looking At My Life Anyway - "The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

I've been thinking a lot about life outside of being an actor.

I've read several advice columns, all within the past couple of weeks, that have talked about how their favorite actors all have hobbies and other things that they do on a regular basis that have nothing to do with the entertainment industry. And that totally makes sense. Any actor who is only an actor is pretty one note, and therefore incapable of giving an interesting, nuanced performance of anyone who isn't an actor.

And I know I have a life outside of being an actor. I enjoy reading, for instance. (Lately I've been reading a lot of plays I was supposed to have read for classes throughout high school and college, and motivational books that I've been using to help direct my career, but I've also read Stephen Hawking and parts of the Torah for fun.) My second favorite thing ever is traveling and seeing as much of the world as I can - I've been to over a dozen countries. And I have been a real fan of the New York Yankees for as long as I've been old enough to understand sports.

But sometimes I still doubt myself, since I incorporate those things into my acting career, and wonder if that's really the point of me having these hobbies. Do I know how to sew and then list it as a skill on my resume? Or do I know how to sew so I can list it as a skill on my resume? Am I actually only studying history so I can find a good story to make into a film? Does it matter? Is this how it's supposed to work in the first place?

And what about when it works in reverse? I started taking up yoga so I could be fitter and look better as an actress, but I really enjoy it on its own merits. Does something I enjoy gain or lose value for how or why I enjoy it?

This may be a little bit of a BS blog post, because I absolutely do not have an answer to any of this. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it to help me figure my own out! (I swear I actually mean that, I'm not just saying it.)

Gosh, I just realized that I could have been using this post to sort out my own thoughts on hobbies to be used for a short or a one act. Which would just make this the most disingenuous thing ever. Oops. My bad.

Emmy Wrap Up - "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there." - Viola Davis

Hey guys, remember how for the Golden Globes I was gonna go award by award and talk about my predictions vs. who actually won, and then said "lol nope" when I realized how long it would take?

GUESS WHO IS A DAMN FOOL AND SURE IS DOING IT NOW FOR THE EMMYS?? (It's me.)

Outstanding Drama Series
My prediction: Mad Men
Who actually won: Game of Thrones

My mother nearly threw her tablet through the TV screen when Mad Men kept losing categories to Game of Thrones. And while I sympathize (I thought Mad Men would clean up the drama Emmys, myself), I still think it's wonderful. I think that it shows that the Emmy voters in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences are starting to skew a little younger, with slightly more open minds about the validity of fantasy as genuine art. Which is awesome.

Outstanding Comedy Series
My prediction: Parks and Recreation
Who actually won: Veep

And now here's the thing I don't like about the way the voters of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences vote: They vote for their friends. And their friends don't change on a year to year basis. Which is why you get the same shows winning some of these awards year after year. A few years ago, it was Modern Family. And now it's Veep. Don't get me wrong, I think Veep is a wonderful, intelligent, interesting, and hilarious show. It's not that I think it doesn't deserve Best Comedy. I just think it won Best Comedy last year. And Parks and Recreation deserves way more recognition than it got. (Which, at the Emmys, was no recognition at all.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
My prediction: Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Who actually won: Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper

There's no analysis that needs to be written here. We all saw this coming from a mile away. Well deserved. So instead, I'm just gonna include a gif of when Jon Hamm rolled on stage to accept it. Please do enjoy the view.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
My prediction: Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal
Who actually won: How to Get Away With Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating

Tatiana Maslany will get her turn for her incredible performances in Orphan Black. But Viola Davis was the right choice. I didn't even realize beforehand that this made her the first black woman to win the lead actress Emmy. (Shows how far I need to check my own privilege.) Now there's nothing I can say that she can't say better herself. So I'm just including her acceptance speech. This is required viewing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman
Who actually won: Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

If this is at all puzzling to you, you haven't yet seen Transparent. And that's all I have to say about that.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope (although I highlighted everyone)
Who actually won: Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

I suppose this was slightly wishful thinking on my part. But Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a class act, and this was a crazy strong category this year. I just wish it meant that I didn't know she is now going to win just about every year for the rest of Veep's run. I think she's wonderful. I just think the other comedic lead actresses are wonderful, too.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
My prediction: The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold (although I highlighted Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister)
Who actually won: Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

I'm not really sure why I picked Alan Cumming, to be honest. He's quite good, but I knew from the start that Peter Dinklage is the best in this category. So I'm just going to copypaste my analysis from my Emmy predictions post, and we can all laugh at what an idiot I am.

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don’t really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There’s no one in this category I’m especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it’s pretty much just that it’s Alan Cummings’ time.
— Me being dumb

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
My prediction: Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
Who actually won: Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I like being right. Sometimes I like being right more than others. Watching Uzo Aduba make history as she won Emmys in both drama and comedy for the same role, and seeing how much it means to her, is one of those times I especially like being right.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh
Who actually won: Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

Not gonna lie, this one was pretty arbitrary. So it's just cool that I got it right. Yay Barrow Group alumni!

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Gaby Hoffman as Ali Pfefferman
Who actually won: Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie

My takeaway from this award is that I should probably be watching Mom. Like, full disclosure: I've never seen it before. And I thought I had an idea as to what it's about and the feel of the show. I was clearly quite wrong. And Allison Janney is so, so classy.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
My prediction: Inside Amy Schumer
Who actually won: Inside Amy Schumer

Dude. Go Amy Schumer. She's awesome.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Who actually won: Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All.

Outstanding Main Title Design
My prediction: Manhattan
Who actually won: Manhattan

Yooooo this one I knew next to nothing about any of the other nominees I just wanted to highlight the one category in which Manhattan was actually nominated for an Emmy and it totally won that's awesome. (I really, really like Manhattan, you guys.)

...Looking over my predictions post, it seems I didn't make writing predictions. That's weird. But I certainly would've gotten them wrong, as I would've picked Transparent and Mad Men, not Veep or Game of Thrones. You guys fantasy is so legit now it's awesome.

See you all next time in Oscar season!! I mean, also many times before that. But definitely then as well. What I'm trying to say here is I'm a huge sucker for awards shows.

Self-Promotion for Creatives - "I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I musn't say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers." - Sylvia Plath

I've been thinking a lot recently about the lines between self-promotion, letting people know what's important to you, letting people know what you want, and conceitedness/self-centrism.

After all, we all know those posts that actors make on social media that go somewhat along the lines of "On set for #ProjectWithAVagueTitle! Find out more about it at www.link.com!" and have a selfie of them attached with them in hair/costume/makeup. Or posts by writers that all have the same joke: "Just Googled 'skin color after being strangled with that string people use to tie up meat. I'm a writer, it's for a story, I promise!" And I feel for people who make these posts, especially because I've made them myself. It's difficult to let people know that you're working, get them excited for your next project, and let them know what that project is in 140 characters or fewer. But it's also so desperate to prove that you can Live The Dream that it always turns me off. Like, congrats on working, and I'm excited for the people who are doing it! But when you have a Twitter feed of almost nothing but these posts, it gets old, and nothing stands out.

Having noticed this, though, I know I've gone too far in the other direction. I don't like to post things unless I've got something to say, or an interesting/funny way to say it. That means that if you go to my Twitter or my Facebook feed, you'll find that it's actually pretty funny! You'll also find that I just haven't posted about the things in which I've been cast because there are only so many ways to post "Been cast in this thing and I'm super excited for it!" Of course, that also means that if a casting director were to visit either page, they wouldn't know about all of the work I've been doing recently.

Here's another issue I've had with self-promotion on social media: I absolutely hate to sound like I'm bragging or self-absorbed. Probably because I am a little narcissistic and self-absorbed. But it means that I miss out on letting people know about things that are important to me. For instance, it was my birthday the other day. And I really wanted people to acknowledge it because my birthday is kind of a big deal to me. But I also didn't want to have to ask them to acknowledge it, or tell people about it at all. I just wanted them to know. Turns out, people aren't mind-readers. Don't get me wrong, I had an excellent birthday, I managed to let it be known a little bit beforehand that it was coming up, and tons of wonderful friends reached out to me on the day to wish me a happy one. But it was still a concern for me in the days leading up to it.

I can't say I'm entirely sure what the solution to all of this is, but I do have a theory. My theory is based on watching the people who do manage to do self-promotion well. And I think the key to it is to have something to say. It can be small, but it has to be there. Desperately thrusting your accomplishments into the void and hoping that somebody notices is not useful to anyone else. But neither is keeping them all to yourself. It's about offering something to the people who might end up actually listening, be it a joke, or a continuation of a discussion, or even an argument presented in, say, a blog format. It's just about giving people something to engage with. That's my theory, anyway.

And so, all of that said... check it out! This past week I did not one, but two spec commercials with NYU - I'm pretty close now to having a commercial reel together! I got cast in Play-Prov with the Alan Chan Comedy Team, and my first rehearsal with them is tonight! And I'm going into pre-production on Just the Tip; I have a director and a producer, and now we're looking for grants so we can have funding for the short! (And you have no idea how much it makes me giggle that I'm the executive producer when I always swore I'd never be an executive-type. It also gives me a massive power trip.)

...See, I may grandstand, but there really are only so many ways to convey this kind of information

EMMY NOMINATIONS!!

Emmy nominations are out!! So... that means it's time for me to post all of my predictions! I won't bother writing out a whole introduction. You know what the Emmys are. If you're new to me and you're just joining from Telemazing, then you should know that some of my predictions will have analysis underneath and some won't. Also I'm mostly just doing the biggest awards (series, lead and supporting actor and actress, all in both comedy and drama), and a select few other categories that just interest me. So. Yeah. Let's do this!

Things in Bold Italics are the Categories
Things in normal text are regular nominees.
Things in italics are my winner predictions.
*Things with an asterisk are series/people I don't think will win because of industry politics or some other reason, but are good enough that they should.

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black

I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It was Mad Men's last season, and the Emmys love giving awards to shows as they're on their way out. It's all about examining a Complicated White Male (which the old, white, male Emmy voters love) in the sixties and seventies (which the old, white, male Emmy voters miss). Add that to the fact that the finale was a huge television event that is still discussed so it's pretty present in the average culturally educated mind, and it makes Mad Men a pretty clear choice to win.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Louie
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Similar to Mad Men winning Best Drama, this is Parks and Rec's last chance, especially since it has never won for Best Comedy! It's also a show that's all about love and friendship while still having something to say about politics and domestic and foreign policy, and the Emmys love a show that has an opinion on something outside of its own overall plot arc. Besides, it's a show that just has tons and tons of heart. I think that Veep and Louie are also excellent series, Modern Family has won pretty much every year for the past several years, and Transparent is straight up a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka, Jill Soloway). But Transparent, Louis, and Veep will be back again next year, Modern Family has had it's due, and now it's time for Parks and Rec to get the recognition it deserves. (And if you've also read Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, then you'll understand why I really want her to get her pudding.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill
Bloodline - Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn
House of Cards - Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom - Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
Ray Donovan - Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan

Did you know that Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for his portrayal of Don Draper in Mad Men, even though it's a career making, and beyond that, iconic performance?
If you've read any of my analyses in this post before this, you already understand why I don't think that'll be the case anymore after September 20th.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Empire - Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
Homeland - Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
House of Cards - Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating
Mad Men - Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal

Does this really need analysis? The pretentious elite (of which I fully admit that I am a member) that make up the Emmy voters (of which I fully admit that I am not) have finally discovered Orphan Black, and now Tatiana Maslany is going to get her dues.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
black-ish - Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson
Episodes - Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House of Lies - Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
The Last Man on Earth - Will Forte as Phil Miller
Louie - Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless - William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher
Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

Between how Transparent just cleaned up at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and the fact that the show is literally just a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway), while it may not win Best Comedy, it can certainly give this award to Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura with grace and humanity, and not a shred of the self-righteousness that comes with an actor who is trying to Make a Point instead of tell a story.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
*The Comeback - Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
*Grace and Frankie - Lily Tomlin as Frankie
*Inside Amy Schumer - Amy Schumer as Amy
*Nurse Jackie - Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
*Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Guys, this one was actually really, really difficult. Literally any of these women could win, and I would totally understand it, and there would be a part of me that agrees with it. I actually came really close to choosing Edie Falco to win this one as Nurse Jackie is also ending and it's one of those comedies that is really more of a dramady than a comedy. But... she's also won the award for this role already (not to mention previous wins for The Sopranos) and I really think this is the time for Parks and Rec. But really. This is such an over-the-top strong category this year with each of these actresses turning in strong, heartfelt, moving, and hilarious performances. This pick was really, really difficult.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantrout
Bloodline - Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn
Downton Abbey - Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
*Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
House of Cards - Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don't really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There's no one in this category I'm especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it's pretty much just that it's Alan Cummings' time.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey - Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
*Game of Thrones - Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Game of Thrones - Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
The Good Wife - Christine Baranski as Diane Lockheart
Mad Men - Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I know I just said that the Emmys doesn't usually have love for the Emmys, but dude, Cersei's walk of shame. That's the kind of scene that'll be shown in Lena Headey's lifetime achievement awards. I also want you to believe me when I say that it hurts me physically to not be putting an asterisk next to Emilia Clarke's name because she is my khaleesi but for this specific season there are other performances that are stronger than hers. Not to say that hers isn't wonderful and strong. Just that there are others that are stronger.
And yet you'll notice that my choice to win wasn't either of those two, but Uzo Aduba. And there are two reasons for that. First and foremost, because she deserves it. Her Crazy Eyes is touching and heartfelt and painful to watch because it's so personal, real, and you can't help but feel for her. I want to make it clear that this is the primary reason. Because she's really good. Also because the other reason is you'll notice how all of my other picks so far have been white people. I genuinely do believe that I picked the actors who had the best performances in their categories, but especially since this one is a pretty tight race, I think the Emmys will want to avoid the bad press that the Oscars got from having a whitewashed list of winners and make sure to have at least a little diversity there.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Girls - Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Key & Peele - Keegan-Michael Key as Various Characters
Modern Family - Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

The pretentious intellectuals who vote for the Emmys love Veep. And Tony Hale is an alumnus of the acting school I currently attend. (Yay The Barrow Group!) But... I couldn't give you a real reason I chose him over any other actor here. There are pretty much an even number of reasons why each actor here would or wouldn't win. Andre Braugher is excellent, but the show overall is more about laughs than getting deep at any point about people and the human condition. (And I say that as a huge, huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.) Adam Driver is having an excellent, public spotlight-y kind of a year, but nobody is really talking about Girls, specifically. Keegan-Michael Key does really intelligent, interesting sketches on Key & Peele, but sketch performers almost never win outside of a variety series category. The Emmys usually love on Modern Family, but maybe people are just too sick of it winning everything for it to win anything this year. Tituss Burgess has created a colorful, complete character in Titus Andromedon, but not necessarily a complex one. I just... can't think of a reason Tony Hale  wouldn't win. So... he's my pick to win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory - Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Getting On - Niecy Nash as Denise "Didi" Ortley
Modern Family - Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie
Saturday Night Live - Kate McKinnon as Various Characters
Transparent - Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees
Veep - Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All. From. The. TV. Gods. (Aka Jill Soloway).
Don't get me wrong, I love Allison Janney in anything and everything she chooses to do. Same goes for Kate McKinnon. And Jane Krakowski never won an Emmy for Jenna Maloney on 30 Rock, so I think she should get one for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Next season. But right now. Transparent is a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway).

...This, by the way, is the point where I'm just going to go and bring up a few select categories that particularly interest me for whatever reason. Just so you know.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
*Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live

So the asterisk this time doesn't mean that I think Drunk History should win over Inside Amy Schumer... it's really more my way of calling attention to what an awesome series it is, especially if you're a fellow history nerd.
But I think this is really where the fact that Amy Schumer is this year's "it" girl is super gonna come in clutch. You know, that and the fact that the show has been insightful, clever, and feminist as well as funny.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Comedians - Mel Brooks as Mel Brooks
Inside Amy Schumer - Paul Giamatti as Juror #10
Saturday Night Live - Bill Hader as Host
Saturday Night Live - Louis C.K. as Host
Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne

Well, by this point you already know that Transparent is a gift to us all et cetera. But I also want to throw out there that watching Bradley Whitford in anything is just an incredible lesson in acting. So watching Bradley Whitford in Transparent... guys, he's incredible. I wanted to stay away from opinions in my analyses because saying that actor in a particular role is "good" or "bad" is subjective and almost never helpful to true understanding of a someone's position. So I will also say that his portrayal of Marcy is subtle, funny, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. Even as we watch his scenes from Maura's (Jeffrey Tambor) point of view, he slowly brings the audience along to experiencing his world through his eyes as well. It's big and bright and exciting and quiet and intellectual and new. And guys, he's wonderful.

Outstanding Main Title Design
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Bosch
Halt and Catch Fire
******Manhattan
Marvel's Daredevil
Olive Kitteridge

I haven't seen all of these series, and so I haven't seen their opening titles. I haven't picked a winner here because I'm just straight up not qualified to pick a winner among all these shows I haven't seen. In fact, you might even say that I've only seen one out of the six shows listed here. I just really like Manhattan and wanted to point out the one category in which it was nominated for an Emmy.

Okay, this blog post took me literally three hours to write up. I nearly did it last night after I got home at one in the morning from seeing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before realizing what a dumb idea that would be. (That movie, incidentally, totally wrecked me in the best possible way.) So now I'm just gonna stop.

But what do you think? Do you agree with me?? Why???

(Guys, I'm really excited about the Emmys.)